One of the best things to do to avoid the Mississippi heat is to sit in an Antarctic-chilled movie theater in a bucket seat with a big, buttery, unhealthy bucket of popcorn and over-sized soda watching something blow up, a protagonist being wooed by a potential lover or laughing until your stomach hurts because of some supporting character's shamefully silly shenanigan. This summer is no different. There are a plethora of summer motion pictures from which to choose. Here are some of the most anticipated.
"Surf's Up" opens June 8. This CGI film—a "mockumentary"—suggests that penguins invented surfing. The murmurs around Tinseltown is that the movie is "Happy Feet" meets "Blue Crush."
"Ocean's 13" opens June 8. The usual suspects with an unexpected twist: Andy Garcia transforms from foe of the gang to friend, and Al Pacino practices his role mastery by playing the bad guy.
"Free or Die Hard" opens June 27. Get ready. John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back again to battle. This time, he's fighting something he abhors more than Hans Gruber: Internet porn. In this instance, porn equals terrorism.
"Ratatouille" opens June 29. it's a Pixar film. You know, the people who brought you "Toy Story," "The Incredibles" and the under-the-sea hit "Finding Nemo"? Remy, a rat, is determined to become a culinary specialist. That's bound to be difficult in a profession that doesn't embrace rodents.
"Transformers" opens July 4. After stuffing yourself with barbecue, ribs and/or grilled Boca burgers, cap off your celebration of freedom with an action-packed movie based on a 1980s cartoon about aliens. Makes sense, right? The movie stars Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Tyrese Gibson and Jon Voight.
"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" opens July 13. It seems if you haven't read at least one Harry Potter book, you're in the minority. Don't continue to be in that number. Go out, read the books, rent all of the previous movies and then go watch teenage Harry Potter do some witchcraft or something.
"Hairspray" opens July 20. It'll be the "Dreamgirls" of the summer. It's a movie. It's a musical. No, it's a movical! The stars will be shining brightly: John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah and Christopher Walken.
"The Simpsons Movie" opens July 27. Bart, Lisa, Homer, Marge and Maggie. About the only thing we can find about this small-screen family turned big-screen stars is that they'll all be in the movie. I thought "The Simpsons" was a comedy, not a mystery.
"Rush Hour 3" opens Aug. 10. Funnyman Chris Tucker hasn't been in a movie since "Rush Hour 2" (2001) when he and Jackie Chan thrilled us and made us laugh. Hopefully he saved all his funny for the sequel. Live.
Movie theaters in the metro area are: Cinemark Tinseltown Cinema 411 Riverwind Drive, Pearl, 601-936-6611. cinemark.com; Malco Grandview Cinema 221 Grandview Drive, Madison, 601-607-7676. malco.com; Regal Parkway Place Cinema 1075 Parkway Blvd., Flowood, 601-939-1700; Regal Northpark Mall Cinema, 250 Rind Rd., Ridgeland, 601-957-1161. fandango.com; Regal Clinton Cinema 201 Clinton Center Drive, 601-924-2911.